The World, the Flesh, and Angels

Mary B. Campbell, Author Beacon Press (MA) $20 (73p) ISBN 978-0-8070-6807-6
The angels in this provocative debut defy expectation: they threaten to reduce the narrator's lover to ashes and tell ``dead baby jokes over their cornflakes.'' Many of Campbell's best poems refer imaginatively to popular culture: ``Life after Life'' speaks of our existence in terms of a video game; in ``Nostalgia,'' cartoon characters George and Jane Jetson remember their first date. Here the irony heightens the pathos, and the declarative tone is utterly convincing. Equally effective poems present facts or rules: ``WARNING: NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP'' asserts that ``This poem has to last / . . . must be equally beautiful / In every language'' and mean ``Exactly what it says.'' When Campbell confronts love or despair head-on, however, her diction and imagery can become familiar, even sentimental (``Think of me, from now on, thinking of you''). Other poems are cute or lengthy, lacking the force, resonance and clarity of the strongest works. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Hardcover - 73 pages - 978-0-8070-6806-9
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